By Ampersand editor Alice Gage
15 February 2013
I thought, given Simon’s momentous achievement last week, that it was a good time to put on a bit of a digital retrospective of the incredible work he has done for Ampersand since 2008 – his work appears in every issue but number 5.
Simon is Ampersand’s resident illustrator. He and I have been friends since we met at Sydney University in 2001.
An incredibly talented artist, immensely intuitive, generous collaborator and of course very, very funny, Simon will follow any vague brief, any scrappy collection of odd references, and come up with something so clever that, without fail, our socks will be blown off, and he’ll make us look several hundred times better than what we were beforehand.
If you ever have the opportunity, work with him.
I’ve also linked to the ‘buy’ page for each of the issues in the headers. This talent don’t grow on trees, people.
Issue 1 – Edition Zero – Spring 2008
The Adventures of The Suitcase Royale
A collaboration with Simon, The Suitcase Royale and myself. This piece grew out of an afternoon with a six-pack of VB at Royale headquarters, 25A, in Northcote, Melbourne. I took photos of the three boys as they made the story up on the spot, and together we wrote the script in the evening. The images and words were then sent to Simon in an incredibly ad hoc fashion, and this is what he did with them. Everyone was paid in VBs and dinner, apart from Simon, who was given $50. I have a cameo as Old Barkeep / Singing Dinosaur, camera on timer.
N.B. It has not yet been continued…
Issue 2 – Janus Faces – Autumn 2010
Time Travel Advertisements
This series was an exercise in Simon indulging my obsession with time travel and shit Australian ads. Except his aren’t shit, they’re sublime. We wrote some of the text together, and Simon wrote some alone, and he constructed these images from some odd dreams, which are excellent, as Bill and Ted would say. Time travel is an ongoing motif of Ampersand.
Issue 3 – The Fade – Autumn 2011
Music (images relating to 70s and 90s music to accompany an article by Craig Schuftan, ‘Time Sucks’. Many of these images were not published.)
See following email correspondence for how little direction Simon was given for these drawings (click to enlarge):
On top of these images, Simon made an ad for Ampersand subscriptions in this issue, typically flamin stupid. Click to enlarge.
Simon was also coincidentally chosen as a finalist in our Capture the Fade photography competition. His work ‘Black Backed Jackal’ was hung in the competition’s exhibition in November 2010 at the Paper Mill, Sydney.
Issue 4 – From the Heart of the Forest to the Edge of the Road – Spring 2011
Postcards from Perth (to accompany an article by Julian Hewitt, ‘Perth, Australia’)
This series had a little more back-and-forth than the others. Simon read the article, and then I sent him a bunch of cheesy beach and Australiana images as references for postcards. Here you can see the draft pics he sent through, pretty much exactly as they are in the final versions. Except that in the final version of the first image, he added a koala wearing sunglasses looking at a butt.
Issue 6 – One Little Room – Winter 2013
Simon created two images to accompany articles for this issue.
The first was of the inimitable Bob Ellis for his story ‘How Love Has Changed’.
And the second was for Frances Chapman’s piece entitled ‘David Chapman’ about the life and death of a young man who loved to dance, told by his sister Frances Chapman.
I’ll conclude this retrospective by saying thank you, Simon. Today, like days gone by:
And with his wonderfully entertaining masterpiece.